Dear Friends,

Two years ago we began a process to increase vigor in our vineyard, which began with removal of diseased and weak vines and has continued through today to assure longevity in the oldest vines. Planted in 2001, the old vineyard contains our most productive vines of Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Franc. The grafts in these vines remain strong and disease-free. They were pruned heavily and the growth these past two years resulted in stronger and cleaner cordons and grapes. Beginning next Spring, we will be replanting in the newest vineyard where Barbera, from a different grower, failed to flourish. With 15 years of experience growing many different types of grapes, we’ve selected to replant those which can withstand substantial moisture and extended rains and storms. As we’ve all been reminded yet again this year, coastal storms are not rare events off the Atlantic seaboard, and we will seek to improve upon our past record to harvest early without weather interfering with our crops.

Early harvests makes sense to everyone now, as we ponder the August - October cycle of hurricanes and tropical storms which are unquestionably on an uptick in frequency and magnitude. In response, Slack has decided to specialize in winemaking that is compatible with grapes harvested with lower Bricks and this favors, in particular, sparkling wines. Shaving several weeks off the growing season will be our goal, then carefully making wines that we have found very interesting and challenging. White Shoals, Pink Shoals and Rocky Shoals as well as In the Flowers will be our mainstays. We will reduce our focus on reds, which require substantially longer maturation of the grapes, though likely continue with a good assortment of whites with shorter growing times.

In preparation, we have decided that to finish the winery build out with new equipment and focus, Slack will close until next Spring and reopen on April 15th, in time for us to celebrate the end of tax season with our accountant friends as well as everyone else who has to do something by then.

I will send an update or two with pictures of the changes for the winery as the project continues, and look for some sampling possible in the late winter. Waterside at Woodlawn will continue in 2019 and hopefully with better weather accommodations — very few Sundays were available this past year for open air music performances but we’ll return next year and just know that it can’t rain every Sunday forever.

Until the weather changes from winter to spring and wine can be sipped again outdoors,

Maggie O’Brien

Winemaker in Training

Slack Wines and Vineyards